1945-09-02 Tokio Bay, Japan / The good Comrade / Der gute Kamerad / O bom Camarada / El buen Camarada

The song is about the immediate experience of a soldier losing a comrade in battle, detached from all political or national ideology; as a result, its use was never limited to one particular faction and was sung or cited by representatives of all political backgrounds throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, and was translated for use in numerous fighting forces, French, Dutch, Spanish, Japanese and others.

Ich hatt’ einen Kameraden, –
Einen bessern findst du nit. –
Die Trommel schlug zum Streite, –
Er ging an meiner Seite –
In gleichem Schritt und Tritt. –

Eine Kugel kam geflogen:
Gilt’s mir oder gilt es dir?
Ihn hat es weggerissen,
Er liegt zu meinen Füßen
Als wär’s ein Stück von mir.

Will mir die Hand noch reichen,
Derweil ich eben lad.
Kann dir die Hand nicht geben,
Bleib du im ew’gen Leben
Mein guter Kamerad!

I once had a comrade,
You will find no better.
The drum called us to battle,
He walked by my side,
In the same pace and step.

A bullet came a-flying,
Is it my turn or yours?
He was swept away,
He lies at my feet,
Like if he were a part of me.

He still reaches out his hand to me,
While I am about to reload.
I cannot hold onto your hand,
You stay in eternal life
My good comrade.

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